Generation Zero Review

Developer: Avalanche Studios

Publisher: Avalanche Publishing

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: March 26th, 2017

Set in Sweden, 1989, Generation Zero starts off as you are on your way home by boat after a weekend trip with your friends. Just before you reach land something attacks your ship, sinking your boat and leaving you to die. However, you wash ashore injured and find the whole country side has been deserted and an army of machines roam free attacking anyone on sight. So it’s up to you to journey deeper inland to figure out just where everyone has gone all the while trying to survive the mysterious robotic threat that has spread across Sweden.

Generation Zero has a really cool concept that just never lives up to it’s full potential. You wage guerrilla style warfare on a superior robotic force with 3 other friends. Meanwhile, you scavenge for weapons, ammo and various other tools as a means to survive. All of that sounds awesome on paper but it never fully delivers. The gunplay feels lackluster but the robots are still just as equally fun to fight as they are terrifying. If you’re a solo player, then combat feels best avoided if you don’t have a solid plan of action. In my experience, it’s far too easy to get caught up in a gun fight only to be overwhelmed by waves of robotic enemies who show up to assist their friends. It’s best to work on quickly attacking and exploiting the robots weak points and then dispersing into the trees to avoid certain doom. You’ll want to work on distracting and exploiting the robots weaknesses to gain the upper hand. The first robot enemy you meet for instance has an easily accessible battery pack on it’s back that when destroyed, instantly kills the robot and sends out a small EMP burst, stunning other robots around it.

As you play the game, you’ll level up and earn skill points to make your character more effective. There are four skill trees to invest your points in and while most of the skills are what you’d expect like decreased recoil and such, some of the later abilities are honestly pretty cool. The Hacker ability for instance allows you to hack robots and they’ll fight on your side for a limited amount of time. The combat tree has a skill that increases damage resistance to 100% and another that completely eliminates weapon sway as well.

Managing your inventory is a pain and it’s too easy to fill up your bag. Lootable resources are a dime a dozen which is both good and bad. Ammo and med-kits feel plentiful but some of the players who err on the side of hoarding items will spend more time managing their inventory than they will fighting robots. You can choose from a handful of character templates to play as and a plethora of clothing options for your character that may or may not provide various stat bonuses like a pair of sneakers that decrease the noise you make or a jacket that increases blast resistance. Clothing items are thankfully separate from your item inventory and don’t need to be managed.

Graphically, Generation Zero is a fine looking game but the character templates you choose from are all pretty…. Mediocre to say the least. Sweden feels empty too without any human NPC’s inhabiting it and playing solo feels incredibly lonely. The robots however are great. They have this retro futuristic feeling about them like they came straight from the 80’s. They also sound intimidating and there’s nothing more scary than when you’re in the middle of a fight and a flanking robots alarm goes off letting you know enemy reinforcements have arrived and you turn to see a horde of them come out of the trees.

Again, Generation Zero is a really cool concept on paper but at the end of the day, it’s a lot of wasted potential. The gunplay isn’t as strong as it should be but fighting the enemy still manages to be a lot of fun and the robots manage to feel both imposing and overwhelming like they should. However, that doesn’t detract from the obnoxious inventory system or lonesome, empty world. If you’re looking for a fun co-op game to play, then Generation Zero might be for you… once it hits the bargain bin and you can convince a friend to buy a copy too.

WeTheNerdy gives Generation Zero a 5 out of 10.